Books to celebrate Neurodiversity Week

The 21st – 27th March 2022 is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. Neurodiversity describes learning differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and Tourette’s syndrome. it gives us all the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual. This week’s books have all been written by neurodiverse authors, and have neurodiverse main characters.

You Are Enough is an inclusive and empowering picture book from Sofia Sanchez, a twelve-year-old model and actress with Down syndrome, reminds readers how important it is to embrace what makes you unique, be confident, and be proud of who you are. Imagine all of the wonderful things you can do if you don’t let anyone stop you! You are enough just how you are. Sofia is unique, but her message is universal: We all belong. Each spread features beautiful, full-colour illustrations, and includes a full cast of  characters with all kinds of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. This book also includes a brief bio of Sofia and her journey so far, as well as additional information about Down syndrome and how we can all be more accepting, more inclusive, and more kind.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Alice Tonks by Emily Kenny isn’t in the shops until May, but I do have a copy already. Alice Tonks is eager to make friends at boarding school, but she’s always found it hard to fit in. Then she discovers she is a switcher and can talk to animals. As she starts to explore her newfound abilities, to her horror she learns that creatures are going missing. Only Alice holds the key to solving the mystery, but she’ll need to harness her full powers first. And to do that she’ll need a bit of help from her new friends – animal and human alike. With plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing, this is a fantastically fun mystery that grips from beginning to end. And, as with any literary boarding school worth it’s salt, this one too has food that will have you craving sweet treats as you read. Stock up on cake and hot chocolate before you dive in.

Like A Charm by Elle McNicoll is one of my favourite reads so far this year. Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them… except Ramya Knox. As she is pulled into her family’s world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth about the Hidden Folk with only three words of warning from her grandfather: Beware the Sirens. Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined. Utterly spellbinding, transportative writing that carries you along on a tide of emotions from beginning to the jaw dropping ending that makes it feel like a very long wait to see what comes next in this fantastically magical series!

Just Like Me by Louise Gooding is an anthology of 40 inspirational figures who are neurologically or physically diverse. The world is full of people who are a little different. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. We are all ‘different; not less’. This is a collection of the true stories of 40 inspirational figures from around the world, all of whom are physically or neurologically diverse. Each story includes struggles and triumphs, a motivational quote and information on each condition. Reflective of our diverse society, this book features Simone Biles, Selena Gomez, Temple Grandin, Warwick Davies, Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Hawking, Greta Thunberg and many more.



And, with it being Mothering Sunday this weekend, I can’t not share My Mum Is A Lioness by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, a huge hug of a book filled with humour and heart. The bright, bold illustrations are packed with wry observational details and add laugh out loud moments to the engaging and imaginative story of a mother-son relationship, which also teaches about lion behaviour with it’s vivid vocabulary. In this family, this particular young boy is utterly convinced his mum is a lioness. She has sharp claws, is faster than anything he’s ever seen, and can catch him in a single pounce. When she not with the rest of her pride, mum is constantly showing him off and making sure you can hear her incredibly loud roar. What else could Mum be? But sometimes, especially when this boy is upset or worried a lovely warm protective lioness embrace is just what is needed.